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Fashion show raises money for scholarships

By Bianca Montes
July 17, 2013 at 2:17 a.m.
Updated July 18, 2013 at 2:18 a.m.

Models Christina Cook, left, and Vanessa Kilgore, right, joke with Mary Sue Nelson in the dressing room during the Victoria Professional Express Network's sixth annual Showcase of Fashion on Wednesday at the Spring Creek Place Events Center. Nelson made an effort to fit the "A Night in the 40s" theme for the evening.

Returning to college is not always the easiest venture -- especially for a mother of three.

When Victoria businesswoman Megan Tuttle decided to pursue her master's degree in economic development and entrepreneurship, she looked toward an area network for support.

Victoria Professional Express Network gathered Wednesday for its sixth annual Showcase of Fashions to raise money to provide learning opportunities and scholarships for Victoria women.

The network, in its fifth year, brings together businesswomen of diverse occupations to help with personal and professional growth.

Tuttle is the fall 2013 recipient of a $1,500 scholarship.

"I have three kids, so that scholarship helps to not take money from our house," Tuttle said. "It also gives me incentive to live up to VPEN's standards."

Tuttle is taking classes at the University of Houston-Victoria, where she also earned bachelor's degrees in biology and psychology.

Wednesday's 1940s-themed event at the Spring Creek Place Event Center featured a catered dinner, silent auction, award ceremony and fashion show.

Models strutted down the runway with clothing from area stores, such as Golden Wings, Tanique Etcetera and All About The Dress.

Denise Basaldua, of Victoria, said the fashion show was just plain fun.

"You get all dressed up and can just be girly," she said. "It's a good way for women to network and bring each other up."

More than 275 people attended the fundraiser, which was sold out, said Cindy Guillen, the network's president.

The organization gave two scholarships last year, totaling $2,500.

This year, Guillen said, she wants to double that amount to four scholarships.

"We're all working for a common good," she said, "to lift women up and help them get out of their boxes."

Tuttle, who now serves on the board as vice president of memberships, said the organization is a big part of why she wants to continue growing in her career.

Tuttle works with the Gulf Bend MHMR Center and said obtaining her master's degree will help her have better insight and develop new programs for the center.

"VPEN is a fantastic opportunity to work and grow up with successful women," she said. "We need this in Victoria."



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